Friday, 11 May 2012

The One-Link Lowdown on...Cyrus Keith!

My guest today is Northern Indiana-born Cyrus Keith.  A USAF veteran trained in electronics repair and battlefield aid, Cyrus currently works as an avionics technician for corporate jets. As if that isn’t impressive enough, he also ‘played bass with the best rock-punk band that never launched a record, invented the best board game that never sold a copy, and with a friend developed a role-playing game that to this day gathers dust in a Rhode Island closet.’  His first novel, Becoming NADIA, recently stormed its way to the top, scooping top place in the Suspense/Thriller section of the 2012 Epic E-Books Awards – an amazing debut!  Book Two The NADIA Project series, Unalive, is also now available, and you can find both books at Muse It Up Publishing.  Welcome, Cyrus!

If you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be? 
Wow, that makes me think of so many things. But I'm going to get deep on you and say I'd go back and get my innocence. I was so young when that was ripped from me. I've seen things that no child should ever have to witness, and some of them still affect me almost fifty years later. At the same time, I've developed a compassion for others who have been through some of those same things. I don't necessarily wish for those ordeals to have never happened, but if I could still have my innocence through them, I could be a better person today. 

What’s the naughtiest thing you've ever done? 
Ah, does the Fifth Amendment work in England? Hey, what's that over there? It looks like an octopus in a mac, eating bubble and squeak while playing "God Save the Queen" on bagpipes! *runs away* 

Well, I'm afraid we don't have the Fifth Amendment here in the UK, so I may have to quiz you further on that later!  Now tell me - what’s the worst job you've ever had? 
Depends on what you call the worst. I was a night-shift nurses' aide at a skilled nursing facility for a year and a half, just long enough to realize I was NOT cut out for the medical profession. Cleaning bedpans, changing beds, and treating bedsores as big as pie tins were all part of the regimen. At the same time, I was around history professors and WWI heroes, and wounded warriors from Vietnam who deserved so much better than I or anyone else could ever give them for their sacrifices. I knew refined dowagers and former Broadway dancing queens. I had thirty grandfathers and thirty grandmothers who shared wisdom and laughs, and pain with us. I swear I cried like a baby every for every one we lost. 

Yes, that kind of work is so hard but in many ways, a privilege too.  And the best job you've ever had....?
Well, it depends on what you call the best. I was a night-shift nurses' aide at this skilled nursing facility… 

Ah, I hear you!  Okay, what’s your favourite piece of music?
I have four, and I can't in good conscience put one above the others:

1.)         By-Tor and the Snow-Dog, by Rush (the live version on All the World's a Stage). The sheer technical ability in this musical fantasy epic blew me away the first time I heard it. I couldn't believe that wall of sound came from just three men. Probably one of the best power-metal pieces ever assembled, and easily one of Neal Peart's best drum parts.

2.)         Dreams I'll Never See, by Molly Hatchett. Under-appreciated masterpiece of guitar work. It touches my soul in a deep and wonderful place every time I hear it. Make sure you get the long version.

3.)         Hold Your Head Up by Argent, from their album All Together Now. The lyrical theme is one of standing tall and holding your head high when everyone else is pointing and criticising. The vocal part is short, but deep, and the organ solo is one of Rod Argent's best.

4.)         There is a worship song called Resting Place that just takes me to that place in my spirit where I can picture myself sharing bread and wine with my God on a little wooden table in a cozy cottage that's just for Him and me to share. 

What your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it? 
The Office Burger is available just a short hop across the Pond and one third across the North American Landmass, in a small town called Athens, Michigan. The Office restaurant and Pub serves up the perfect burger, an Angus beef masterpiece stacked high with Canadian Bacon, bacon, three kinds of cheese, mushrooms, onions, lettuce and tomatoes. Awesome flavour balance, and you won't be hungry again for a week. 

Which household chore would you happily give up for ever?
Which household chore would I happily not give up forever? I can't think of any. You wanna help out with that or somethin'? (Oops, sorry. Bunny just kind of took over for a minute)

What talent or skill would you love to have that you don’t have now?
Heinlein's ability to weave a world into a story so seamlessly that the reader never notices it.

 What drives you seriously nuts?
Congress. Oh, dear lord, do I even need to say more? 

I think we can all relate, no matter where in the world we are!  Now, tell me this - imagine you're given a time travel machine .  Where would you go, and why?
September, 1066. Wow. Talk about days that changed the world. Harold vs. William for all the marbles, with Danes thrown in for good measure. Those were days for Heroes, and so much went down then. All we really have is a wall hanging to record what really happened, between Stamford Bridge and Hastings. I would be blown away by a chance to see what went down, to be close to the events as they happened and record them.
Did I mention that the transitional period from the Roman Empire to the Renaissance fascinates me as a time in history anyway? Like, how did Europe get from the times of the Caesars to Charlemagne? What happened to bring the Church from the times of the Apostles to Menno Simons?
There's just so much knowledge and culture that changed, and with the collapse of Roman leadership, much of what really happened was lost.

As I live right on that very 1066 doorstep, Cyrus, I’d be right there with you – what a time that would have been.  Friends, you can read more about Becoming NADIAright here at today’s One-Link.  Cyrus, it’s been great to see you - thanks for being my guest today, and good luck with all your future projects.


  1. What a sensational interview, Cyrus! I'm hungry just listening to you talk about the Office Burger!

    Huge congratulations on Becoming Nadia. Success like that takes one's breath away - but I know you've did a huge amount to promote the book, too.

    I spent four months working as an aide in a nursing home when I was in my late teens. Although I wasn't crazy about some of the duties either, I really appreciated getting to know some of the residents. They were so eager to communicate. I saw how some people treat the elderly like children - shameful.

    (I especially feel that way now that I'm edging toward being a senior citizen!)

    Anyway - fantastic interview. Thanks for sending out the link, Jane. And if either of you would like to be guests on my blog, contact me at lisabet [at]

  2. Jane, thanks for having me today. I am DEFINITELY going to have to visit you and walk those fields. I'm sure there are ghosts with their stories all over the place there.

  3. Hi from another Muse author (in Scotland) - loved the answers and getting to know a bit more about you, Cyrus. Very impressed with your day job. I started nurse's training after school (many years ago!) and had to give up when realising I didn't like hospitals.

  4. Ah, Scotland. I have been doing a bit of research, as my family were English Immigrants. My mother was a McVay. Her mother was a Houston. My Family roots are in the Kenyon line (Old English, for Ennion's Mound). You can guess bubble and squeak was a staple on our dinner table.

  5. Hi Lisbet! Glad you enjoyed the interview, I loved learning more about Cyrus too. I may well take you up on the interview offer in a couple of months! Thanks for coming by to visit Cyrus today. :)

    Rosemary, it's always good to see you! Thanks for coming along. :)

    Cyrus, any time you feel like coming over to visit Battle - yes, that's what the place where the Battle of Hastings happened is actually called! - just let me know, and I'll dig out my walking boots!

    Jane x

  6. Yay! Oh, wait...did I just lapse from my manly and sophisticated composure and dance up and down clapping my hands? Nay, not I! Say 'tis not so, and wander the moors in darkness till such a time as the chosen one cometh!

    Ah, the heck with it. Yay! I certainly shall. I wonder if there are any arrowheads left undiscovered from the fray...

  7. Cyrus, I have quite an imagination, but I promise you I'm having extreme difficulty picturing you dancing up and down....! ;-))

    I should think there are arrowheads a-plenty to be found - bring a shovel!

    Thanks for being such a smashing guest. :)

    Jane x

  8. Cyrus: Having worked in a nursing home after my divorce, I know exactly what you mean. And I agree about Heinlein. My dream home would be modeled after Boondock.

    For any of you who have not read "Becoming NADIA" or "Unalive," by all means do. Then you will have no problem understanding how Cyrus garnered the Epic award so quickly.